The news networks all have blogs that carry on political campaign
chatter beyond their regular televised coverage. For those who can
never get enough.

Here’s buzz from the team at MSNBC.

The big question if Clinton stays in the race is this:
Just how will she campaign? Yesterday, there were no negative TV ads or
attack mailers. But Clinton did stress that she can win the general,
implying that Obama might not be able to.

Now this is interesting:

It’s comments like that one that might drive more supers
toward Obama pretty quickly. Why?  Because they know the math, but they
don’t want her to spend three weeks making a case that Obama can’t win.
It will only weaken him. Here’s what Obama backer Chris Dodd said
yesterday, per NBC’s Ken Strickland. “You’re going to be asking a bunch
of people [in West Virginia] to vote against somebody who’s likely to
be your nominee a few weeks later? And turn around and ask the very
same people a few weeks later to reverse themselves and now vote for
[Obama] on election day?”

Precisely. Provided that you realize he’s going to be the nominee a few weeks later. Not sure that Clinton believes that.

Here’s one that tries to decipher just what Clinton believes.

Yesterday in West Virginia, Hillary said: “I’m staying
in this race until there’s a nominee.” Was that a signal to
superdelegates — telling them that if you want me out of the race, come
out and endorse Obama? In a way, it seemed she was almost daring supers
to come out and endorse Obama. Yesterday, four did (see below), but it
was just four. It that a sign of how Democrats are still afraid to be
against the Clintons?

And then there’s the Clinton Drop-Out Watch.

Clinton insiders are starting to whisper more to reporters, about what they think is inevitable.

“I don’t see any way she can put this together any more
— she can’t win the popular vote or the delegate count — so what’s the
rationale?” said a major Clinton supporter from New York, speaking on
condition of anonymity. “I think the challenge now is letting her leave
with dignity and grace and letting the process go forward. She has got
to leave on a high note. She’s got to determine her own exit strategy.”

Trying to head off calls for her to quit, Bill and Hillary Clinton
are planning a major conference call as early as Thursday to address
the anxiety and anger among their donors, surrogates and superdelegates
— who provide her last, thin hope of capturing the nomination.

Behind the scenes, her top advisers were lobbying backers to keep
them from defecting to Obama, and Clinton flew to Washington to make a
private plea for support to uncommitted congressional superdelegates.

However, they excused themselves from the planned private dinner to
get back to the floor of Congress for a contentious vote….they said.

And now, Politico is reporting that Obama is planning to wrap this thing up on his timetable.

Not long after the polls close in the May 20 Kentucky
and Oregon primaries, Barack Obama plans to declare victory in his bid
for the Democratic presidential nomination.

And, until at least May 31 and perhaps longer, Hillary Clinton’s campaign plans to dispute it.

It’s a train wreck waiting to happen, with one candidate claiming to
be the nominee while the other vigorously denies it, all predicated on
an argument over what exactly constitutes the finish line of the
primary race.

The contrasting game plans
are the focus of the moment. Inside the campaigns, some team members
are still working out the next play or two. Some Obama aides say he’ll
campaign in the remaining primary states.

But before the results in Indiana results were even
confirmed Tuesday night, chief strategist David Axelrod told reporters
traveling on the campaign plane from Raleigh to Chicago that Obama had
“multiple tasks.”

“Senator McCain has basically run free for some time now because we
have been consumed with this,” Axelrod said. “Everybody is eager to get
on with this. We are not going to take anything for granted. But we are
also going to spend time addressing broader issues. I mean, I don’t
think we are going to spend our time solely in primary states.”

When asked whether Obama would campaign over the next month in
general election states, Axelrod said: “I guess you can infer that from
what I said.”

But…

Campaign manager David Plouffe was less direct Wednesday on this point.

“We have to continue to fight as hard as we can to secure this
nomination and that’s our first, second and third goal,” Plouffe said.
“Obviously, you know, we also don’t want to wake up the morning of June
4th or June 10th or whenever this is gonna end and not be prepared so
we’re gonna do the things we can in kind of our off hours to be ready.”

Meanwhile, John McCain is using his off hours for some fun.

Sheila Liaugminas

Sheila Liaugminas is an Emmy award-winning Chicago-based journalist in print and broadcast media. Her writing and broadcasting covers matters of faith, culture, politics and the media....